Borage oil is used to treat inflammatory disorders such as arthritis, eczema, seborrheic dermatitis and respiratory inflammation, according to WebMD. Borage oil may also benefit people with hypertension and certain types of cancers, states Zhion.com.
Borage oil is derived from the seeds of the borage plant, also known as Bee Plant or Starflower. It contains high percentages of gamma linolenic acid (GLA), a fatty acid essential to cellular function and metabolic processes such as cardiovascular functions. The body does not itself produce fatty acids like GLA; these must be obtained from outside dietary sources. A GLA deficiency can directly affect internal inflammation, according to Herbwisdom.com.
GLA is a necessary precursor to chemical reactions that inhibit leukotriene synthesis, which in turn provide therapy in rheumatologic illnesses through anti-inflammatory effects. GLA has also been shown to suppress tumor growth, as reported by Zhion.com.
There is evidence that borage seed oil, used in combination with conventional painkilling or anti-inflammatory medications, helps decrease symptoms of RA after six weeks of treatment, which appears to last for up to 24 weeks, states WebMD, noting that such improvement was measured as a decrease in the number and severity of tender and swollen joints. Research cited by Zhion.com has also shown that borage oil alone, given to 30 subjects for 28 days, reduced blood pressure and heart rate responses to stress, increased skin temperature and improved task performance.
Borage oil also contains calcium, iron, potassium, zinc, B and C vitamins and beta carotene, making it an especially good nutritional supplement. Women in particular are frequently at risk for deficiencies in these nutrients, says Herbalwisdom.com.